Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Spit Happens...

...... and sometimes that's a very GOOD thing. In this case, I took our alpaca herdsire, Sinbad, for another "drive-by breeding" (that term totally cracks up my son, Robert) to see Gabby, whom he had bred 3 times previously at 2 week intervals. Here he is waiting in eager anticipation as Gabby is led to the breeding pen. Drive-by breedings are a nice option for owners who don't want to send their females away when they have a young cria at side. The dam and cria are less stressed, and the owners get to watch the cria grow up.

When a female is biologically ready for breeding, she will "cush" (lay down) and generally be receptive to the male's amorous advances. The male will "orgle" (make a very unique sound which I must figure out how to record and put on here!) throughout the 15-30 minutes of breeding. Alpacas are induced ovulators, so they'll normally ovulate (release an egg) within 24 hours and by about 5-7 days post-breeding they'll spit if introduced to a male due to a higher progesterone level. After each of the first 2 breedings, Gabby was very happy to see Sinbad again, and acted all flushed and anxious. This time..... she spit!

This "behavior testing" or "teasing" isn't a perfect way to confirm pregnancy, but it's pretty darn close. Now it's up to the owners to have an ultrasound and/or progesterone test done in the next few weeks and throughout the pregnancy, and to wait and watch in 11 months for a brand-new cria!

Some females stay very cranky throughout their pregnancies, but Gabby is a sweetheart and still has some kisses to share with her owner, Denise. She's going to save the spitting for gigolos like Sinbad!

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